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Seven in Shakespeare

Seven in Shakespeare

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Published by Chanin

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Published by: Chanin on May 11, 2010
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07/09/2010

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Seven
in ShakespeareIn 1995 a movie was released entitled
Seven
starring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman.Fifteen years later this movie is still ranked in the top movies of all time. According to theleading industry website, imdb.com, the movie is ranked 26 out of the top 250 movies ever released. This shows that the movie not only is relevant no matter the era or generation, but thatit will continue in that way for years to come. The issues that make this movie so memorableand so relevant is that it is the story of two police officers trying to find a serial killer that isusing the seven deadly sins as his defining modus operandi in that the officers must understandthe sins to finally subdue him and capture him (
Seven
). However, the twist is that he has other things in store for the officers.The concept is not strange to teenagers in that a serial killer uses the seven deadly sins to prove his point, but unbeknownst to them, they are also learning a bit of information fromreligion and the past. Many of the high school students would be able to tell from memory whatthe sins are as compared to older counterparts that may know of one or two, maybe even three, but not all seven. The fact that this movie has taught these students about the seven deadly sinscan be, for lack of a better term, exploited to introduce and teach the works of WilliamShakespeare. For within many of Shakespeare’s works one can find not just sins, but a perfectexample of each sin. In many cases, the seven deadly sins are all found within a single drama,which would require a much more detailed analysis and much could be lost in the study. Byfocusing each sin on a specific Shakespearean drama, the student will be more likely tounderstand the drama and relate it to activities that are occurring in the world of today. In this proposal, I will use the seven deadly sins as discerned in the move
Seven
to show the relationship
 
 between to world today, via a currently enjoyed movie, and the world of Shakespeare througheight of his different plays, each one focusing on a single deadly sin.The first deadly sin noted in the movie is the sin of gluttony. Most often this sin isassociated with the overindulgence of food, but it can be associated with the overindulgence of any item that is needed for survival (7 Deadly Sins). Therefore it is not just food, but could beanything that the person believes is needed for their survival. For Shakespeare there is not better character that shows the gluttony of a noble man than Richard III as found in
The Tragedy of  Richard the Third.
In fact, it is his gluttonous actions that create his decline into insanity and hiseventual demise on the battlefield.The plan of Richard of Gloucester is told to the audience in his brief speech”“And if I fail not in my deep intent,Clarence hath not another day to live:Which done, God take King Edward to his mercy,And leave the world for me to bustle in!” (
 Richard III 
1.1.149-152)It is in this, that the audience realizes that the gluttonous Richard wants the throne for himself,and has laid a plot to kill his brother Clarence and expects the merciful death of his sick brother,King Edward.In like fashion, Richard, the Duke of Gloucester, kills off all of his competitors to thecrown, and any body else who is no longer of use to him and his plans. The first victims of thisgluttonous serial killer are the children of King Edward. They are in line to the throne beforehim and therefore, must die. These deaths are followed by the death of his wife, Anne, the LordHastings, and the Duke of Buckingham, all of which were used and then thrown away when theywere no longer of use. In fact, the death of Buckingham was even worse, because his death
 
could be attributed to the fact that Richard did not want to give him the promised land and estatefor his help in putting Richard on the throne. When Buckingham requests his “promisedearldom” (
 Richard III 
IV.ii.102) he is told by King Richard III that he “is not in the giving veinto-day” (IV.ii.116) and it is this conflict which causes King Richard III to require the executionof the Duke of Buckingham. However, it is not until the end of the drama, that the gluttonousguilty conscious undoes King Richard III. The night before the final battle, each and every person that he has murdered, or rather has had murdered, comes to visit him professing his lossto Henry the Earl of Richmond. Richard III knows his doom, “O Ratcliffe, I have dream’d afearful dream! / What think’st thou – will our friends prove all true?” (
 Richard III 
V.iii.212-213)and in this sentence it is obvious that he realizes that his overindulgence in or gluttony of power has created this doom.The second deadly sin in the movie
Seven
is the sin of greed, based on the concept of a“pound of flesh” within the movie (
Seven
). In Shakespeare, it is more of a material gain that isfound in the character of Edmund, the bastard son, of the Duke of Gloucester, in the drama
 King  Lear 
(7 Deadly Sins;
 King Lear 
). In fact, it is his greed that creates not only the demise of half  brother, Edgar, but also the demise of Goneril and Regan, the daughters of King Lear.Edmond, the illegitimate son of Gloucester, having been away for “nine years” (
 King  Lear 
I.i.32) believes that he will be overlooked by his father in the area of inheritance when it istime. However, the actions and words of Gloucester seem to develop a sense of equality between the brothers, Edmund and Edgar, “But I have a son, sir, by order of law, some/ year elder than this who yet is no dearer in my/ account”
 
(
 King Lear 
I.i.19-21). This would make one believed that the sons are equal, but Edmund will not believe any of it. At the first chance hegets, he tells the audience that “I must have your [Edgar’s] land” (
 King Lear 
I.ii.16) and that

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